NEWSLETTER | Autumn 2019
In our Autumn Newsletter, we review our seminar 'Building a Circular Society', present our 10-year publication on 'The PublicdWater services of the future', and talk about our General Meeting 2019, the promotion of tap water as drinking water and the upcoming EU programme for Water Operator Partnerships in the context of Development and International Cooperation.
A successful event to jumpstart cross-sector discussion for a sustainable future
On 17 October, Aqua Publica Europea celebrated its tenth anniversary with an event connecting the water sector with other sectors to discuss how to jointly foster a sustainable future in a circular society. The event welcomed about one hundred participants at the offices of VIVAQUA, the public water operator for Brussels. The lively discussion was the opportunity to share views with experts on the future of water – from the institutional and regulatory, scientific, financial and environmental perspectives. Then, the debate took a wider approach with the view that, if we are truly committed, as a society, to building a sustainable future, it is paramount to work across sectors and across silos. Two panels were each introduced by a public water operator’s best practice from the sustainability and inter-disciplinarity angles: Gruppo CAP’s (Milan, Italy) ‘BioPiattaformaLab’ and HAMBURG WASSER’s (Hamburg, Germany) Rain InfraStructure Adaption plan (RISA), expanding the conversation to other involved sectors.
The Public Water Services of the Future – New publication
The celebration of Aqua Publica Europea’s tenth anniversary was the opportunity to launch our latest publication The Public Water Services of the Future which presents how public operators are preparing to tackle the great challenges of our time – from climate change to growing investment needs, as well as to harness emerging opportunities. Based on the strategies of member operators, the document presents the public water operator as part of several ecosystems - environment, society, economy and knowledge - that strives to sustainably interact with the contextual fabric and contribute to development that benefits the general interest.
Read the publication
Aqua Publica Europea’s General Meeting elects a new Management Board
The latest General Meeting of Aqua Publica Europea took place in Brussels on 18 October. It was the opportunity to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the association by looking back at the achievements of the past ten years and preparing the future with new ideas and initiatives. The members also renewed the Management Board and appointed the association’s President for the next term. Eighteen board members were elected to steer the association. Célia Blauel, President of Eau de Paris and Deputy-Mayor of Paris in charge of the environment, was re-appointed as President and Paolo Romano, President of SMAT (Turin, Italy) was appointed Vice-President. The list of the Board Members is now available online at aquapublica.eu (click here).
At the end of Summer, Aqua Publica Europea published the report Untapped: promoting tap water in Europe, a collection of initiatives undertaken by public water operators in Europe to promote and support the consumption of tap water, highlighting efforts for increased access to water. Driven by their mission in the public interest, the members of Aqua Publica Europea consistently commit efforts and dedicate resources to raising awareness on the water cycle and the benefits of drinking tap water thus fostering public confidence in water. They also strive to support citizens’ access and consumption of water through the wide deployment of public fountains and the distribution of reusable water bottles. Such objectives align fully with, and anticipate, the upcoming changes in EU legislation with the revision of the Drinking Water Directive.
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Realising SDG 6: Upcoming EU programme to finance Water Operator Partnerships
In September, the European Commission's Directorate-General for Development and International Cooperation (DG DEVCO) gathered a range of stakeholders, including Aqua Publica Europea and several members, to present and exchange views on a new financing instrument for Water Operator Partnerships (WOP). The new programme was finally approved in October, thus supporting not-for-profit, decentralised, solidarity-based international cooperation towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 6 – clean water and sanitation. Aqua Publica Europea has been advocating for such a programme for WOPs, an efficient instrument to contribute to SDG 6. The programme, managed by UN Habitat’s Global Water Operator Partnerships Alliance (GWOPA), is expected to be officially launched in the beginning of 2020 and will see a call for WOPs to be implemented during the following three years.